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  • Organ newbie question

    After many years of piano, I want to go back to classic organ and really learn to play it (which I didn't in the past.) I want to buy a cheap, used organ that has a full two-octave pedal board and classic-oriented voices. Down here in Florida we have an enormous supply of used organs of all types, advertised in Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, etc. Which three brands / types of classic (or pseudo-classic) organ would you recommend? (Emphasis on "cheap," by the way.) Just as an example, would an Atelier AT-90SL be a good option? Thanks in advance for your invaluable advice! đź‘Ť
    Ray
    Miami, FL
    --------------
    Korg Havian 30

  • #2
    Ray,

    My first question would be which type of music you perform. If it is church or classical, I'd suggest a used Allen or Rodgers. However, if you're looking for a home organ to play pop music, I'd suggest one of the home organ models. Then, if you're looking to play jazz or gospel music, I'd recommend a Hammond.

    If you provide a bit more information, it will help us help you.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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    • #3
      The problem with the ateliers is that they have a short upper manual ie not 5 octaves, which causes problems with playing classical organ music eg Bach. You need to be looking at a 5 octave manual upper and lower.

      For classical organ try Rogers, allen or johannus etc. The only trouble with these is that you are limited to classical organ really, if you want to branch out a bit, Lowrey are a good all rounder as long as you turn off all the automatic buttons

      Comment


      • #4
        Be aware that many of the newer organs rely heavily on programs and in-depth program adjustments. If you do not thrive on cell phones, smart TVs and other enhancements of the digital age, you may find some of these organs somewhat frustrating. I do. Older organs can require some TLC, but do not have the programming headaches.
        Larry K

        Hammond BV+22H+DR-20, Celviano for piano practice
        Retired: Hammond L-102, M-3, S-6, H-112, B-2+21H+PR-40, B-3+21H, Hammond Aurora Custom, Colonnade.

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        • #5
          Thank you very much for the excellent tips!
          Ray
          Miami, FL
          --------------
          Korg Havian 30

          Comment


          • #6
            The Ateliers are very flexible, in that just about any voice can be placed anywhere. So, although the fact that the upper manual doesn't go down to low C is annoying at times, it isn't always the issue that it might have been! 25 pedals rather than an AGO 32 note pedalboard? That may be an issue, depending on the repertoire you wish to play.

            One great thing about the Ateliers from the ATxxSL onwards, is the touch screen operation. I appreciate what Larry said about the in depth tweaking, but most of what you'll need on an Atelier is easily selected from the screen and the menu system is quite intuitive - with a 'search' function should you need it. They are also superb all-rounders, with excellent orchestral voices to go with the organ sounds. If you play a classical organ piece with orchestral strings and solo orchestral voices, say, you can produce some beautiful sounds. And that extended lower manual, complete with a proper piano style damper pedal on the AT90SL, and a solid grand piano voice means that you can play some decent solo piano.

            I'd avoid Lowrey. Yes, you can turn off the automatics, but apart from the 'sweet Lowrey flutes' (which are lovely!) the straight organ sounds are very few.

            But as John said, if your interest is purely classical organ, then you should be looking for something like a used Johannus, Rodgers or Allen etc.

            Last point: Spares for almost any organ over 10 years old can be difficult or impossible, in fact there's anecdotal evidence from Lowrey owners that some parts for organs newer than that are not available. The only exception to this is Allen, who can supply parts for all organs. But that may be at a hefty price!
            It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

            New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

            Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
            Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
            Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
            Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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            • #7
              Thanks, Andy! There are indeed a surprising number of retired Allen church organs available in Florida, so I will start digging into this invaluable source that the Organ Forum is and look for information on them, which I'm sure that will be ample and in-depth, as it is for anything else related to organs.

              I'm not sure if you guys celebrate it in the UK but just in case, Happy Thanksgiving!
              Ray
              Miami, FL
              --------------
              Korg Havian 30

              Comment


              • #8
                We don't celebrate it over here, Ray, but to you and all my American friends, have a great Thanksgiving.
                It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

                Comment


                • myorgan
                  myorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I wonder why you don't celebrate it over there, Andy?

                  Evidently, some of my relatives disagreed with the Church of England, and took a boat ride so they wouldn't be excommunicated–again! My grandfather (13 greats) was imprisoned twice and excommunicated for "sedition" when he spoke out against the Church on some issues. Talk about legalism! I'd like to think he contributed to America in some small way.

                  Michael

              • #9
                The American "Thanksgiving" is - Thanksgiving Day, annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people.

                In the UK we traditionally celebrate with a Harvest Festival when after the harvest people would take fruit and vegetables to church/school to be distributed to the poor. In more recent years churches ands schools have asked for tinned and dried goods for practical reasons. Traditionally a local baker would make a bread sheaf of corn incorporating a little mouse. This would be the centre of the display of goods brought to the harvest festival. Perhaps the major difference might be that the date of a Harvest Festival is governed by the time of the Harvest in a particular community rather than being on a set day each year. Schools and churches pick a date suitable for their purposes.

                Comment


                • myorgan
                  myorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Originally posted by KRG
                  ...baker would make a bread sheaf of corn incorporating a little mouse.
                  A mouse?!!! Do tell.

                  Michael

              • #10
                There are some Hammonds like the RT series, which have 32 note AGO pedals. You can go a long way with these organs if you want to play church or classical music, even though the manuals don't overhang one another as per AGO.

                While I agree that Allen or Rodgers would be a great way to go, you will want to check the depth of the console and the width of any doorways you plan to get it through. A lot of their consoles are too massive to get into the average home.
                Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.

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